There are a lot of tips for aspiring authors out there; some are good and some not so much (in my humble opinion). I have been blessed to have several best-selling books; and I also worked in the publishing world so I have inside information about what publishers are looking for. One major tip that every writer should know….
I am specifically speaking about fiction writing. (Other genres such as non-fiction, self-help, nutrition, all have different rules to get a publisher’s attention.)
All too often writers get so caught up in their work’s; they forget about the reader.I know this sounds silly, but it is true- the question to ask yourself is- why do people read? When you open the pages of a book you step into another place; another time; another world, and if you don’t deliver that to the reader, if the story doesn’t ‘take-you-away’ -you are dead in the water.
YOU might think that the story you are writing is amazing; YOU might think that the masterpiece you have created is the next best-seller that everyone wants to read….but is it? Does it in fact appeal to the masses? Does it keep the reader engaged? Does it invoke emotional responses? Does it really and truly capture the attention of the reader?
Now here is the hard question- would the reader tell their friends about it? You will be surprised to learn that less than 33% of readers recommend a book to a friend. I’ve read some good books; I am a reading junkie- but I rarely say to my friends “WOW- you have to read this!” The book has to be great (not good) for that to happen.
Publisher’s use a system- and if your works don’t fit within the system (or it is just plain bad) it will be rejected. The #1 question for a publisher is- will this appeal to the masses? Publishing is a business- and what is the goal of every business? To make money.
If you have decided to go the self-publishing route; which is a great alternative, and one I recommend by-the-way- you better be prepared to market, promote and find ways to get the attention of the reader! On average, self-publishing books sell less than 250 copies. Why? Well the biggest answer to that is- people don’t know you. They have never heard of you.
Did you know that there are somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published every year in the US alone, (depending on which stats you believe). Many of those – perhaps as many as half or even more – are self-published. That my friend is A LOT of competition!
The secret? Getting enough people to care about you and your book, through social media, traditional media, word of mouth…. bake sales if you have too – anyway you can. It’s creating a community of people with a genuine interest in the idea you’re putting forward. It’s the way in which you create a strong brand around you and the book and get the world to pay attention. You have to build your own personal brand!
This doesn’t mean every other post is “Hey-buy-my-book!” Instead be you, build your brand; engage and invite the reader to be part of the process, let your personality shine and let them get to know you!
In short- don’t forget about the reader!